SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that causes COVID-19, and it’s relatively new. Since COVID-19 ensued, you may have heard of antibody testing. So, now people tend to confuse coronavirus testing with this serology test. However, these two tests differ as one is diagnostic, which looks for any active or current infection. In contrast, the other checks if there are specific antibodies in the blood.
What do these mean in a layman’s language? COVID-19 is the diagnostic test that determines if someone has a current SARS-CoV-2, a virus that causes coronavirus. Then, the serology tests search for antibodies in your blood. The antibodies created help to fight the infection. It’s possible for your immune system to develop these antibodies after an infection or after you get vaccinated against the virus.
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Consider These Before Taking Antibody Testing
Similar to getting the usual blood test, a medical provider will draw a blood sample from a vein in the arm or a finger prick to test for antibodies. Then the sample taken gets analyzed to determine if you’ve developed antibodies against the virus causing COVID-19. After one to three weeks, your immune system should develop the proteins critical for fighting the virus.
1. Wait for COVID-19 Recovery
Your immune system takes 1-3 weeks to make the antibodies that fight the virus after infection. If you have the COVID-19 virus, you must wait for a full recovery before taking antibody testing. You’ll get false results if you take the test when you’ve not fully recovered.
2. Benefits of Antibodies
People infected or vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 have a chance of developing antibodies in their blood. These proteins show the body’s efforts or preparedness to stave off the virus. Upon the creation of these antibodies in the person’s blood, they may protect the person from getting the infection in the future or getting severely ill for some time. Although these may be a mark of protection, some people may get reinfected. These antibodies diminish over time, whether created from infection or vaccination. So, it will depend on a specific disease or an individual.
3. Testing Positive
A positive antibody test result suggests that a person has the antibodies for COVID-19. And this could be a result of:
- Previous infection of SARS-CoV-2.
- Vaccination against the same.
So, a person can continue his usual activities after positive antibody testing. However, they shouldn’t be careless to disregard the precautions set to prevent the infection of COVID-19. But the most crucial step is to get vaccinated.
People should also get a viral test to determine whether they have antibodies or not if they have shown some COVID-19 symptoms. And when they have confirmed being in close contact with someone with coronavirus.
4. Testing Positive
Some antibody tests can only detect antibodies formed from infection, not vaccination. When the antibody test shows negative, you have no COVID-19 antibodies. So, you might have never gotten infected with the COVID-19 virus previously. Since antibodies take time to develop, false-negative test results are possible if the provider collects the blood sample too soon after your infection.
5. False Positive or Negative Antibody Results
It’s possible for antibody testing to give false positive results. It simply means the test has found SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, while in a real sense, those specific antibodies don’t exist. But a person can minimize these results by choosing a high-specific antibody test. Then a provider should ensure to only test people who had received vaccination against the virus or are likely to have had COVID-19. Similarly, a false negative result means the absence of the antibodies while they are actually present.
Now you know how the COVID-19 test differs from antibody testing. Before doing this test, refer to the above as a perfect guide. Remember, you may get immunity if you were previously diagnosed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus or vaccinated against it. However, we don’t recommend taking this test to assess your immunity to COVID-19. While antibodies may provide some protection from severe diseases, they wane after some time.
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